A recent article by Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune has Sacramento Kings fans revisiting the signing of George Hill. The piece goes through some criticisms of Sacramento’s past decision-making, and also compares their lack of success with the Sixers’ recent growth, but the meat of the entry was regarding the quickly deteriorating situation between George Hill and the Sacramento Kings .
I’ll let you read the article in its entirety on your own, but the snippet that is catching everyone’s attention is this:
Here’s the issue. The Kings brought in Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter during the offseason and still have Garrett Temple on the roster. These are respected vets who can play. These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive.
But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose.
Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources And the other veterans can’t be too happy, either.
The premise is that the Kings tricked Randolph, Carter, and Hill into signing contracts with a playoff-contending team, but when Scott Perry left, the Front Office reversed direction and decided to tank for a top-5 pick instead. There are a few issues with the information that is most likely coming from a pro-Hill source:
- Scott Perry was not the General Manager of the Sacramento Kings when these negotiations took place. Vlade Divac was, and still is, the General Manager. Even with the Kings past Kangziness, it’s hard to believe that the organization allowed a person who wasn’t in charge to have large-money discussions without the head honcho, Vlade Divac, present, and to spout a completely different philosophy than the Front Office desired.
- The timeline is pretty tough as well. Free agency opened on July 1st, these deals were made on July 10th, and Perry left for the Knicks after several days of negotiations on July 14th. That would mean the franchise reversed directions multiple times in a matter of a couple of weeks. There could have been talks taking place prior to the official designation of July 1st, but I can’t imagine that Vlade signed the largest free agent contract in Kings history without personally speaking to George about the direction of the team.
- Dave Joerger hasn’t shoved the veterans to the end of the bench. The three players to start the most games for Sacramento this year? George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Garrett Temple. It’s not that Coach isn’t giving Hill a chance to play more minutes, it’s that Hill’s atrocious production hasn’t justified giving him additional time on the court.
- This roster was never going to be competitive. It’s simple. A core made up of George Hill, 36-year old Zach Randolph, 40-year old Vince Carter, a few career bench veterans, as well as rookies and sophomores isn’t making the playoffs. If George Hill and his associates thought this was a contender in the stacked Western Conference, there are bigger issues at play than his happiness.
I don’t question Tony Jones as a writer, or the validity of his actual sources, I question the sources’ purely pro-Hill stance. The accusation of Sacramento deceiving the veterans doesn’t come across as accurate information; but instead sounds more like a primer from Hill’s camp to make a coming trade request more palatable for his reputation. It’s not that he’s played poorly, or that he decided to take money over wins, it’s that the Kings are gonna Kangz.
It’s becoming more and more clear through different reports that Hill is unhappy in Sacramento, and that’s perfectly acceptable. His playing style doesn’t seem to fit the offensive game plan, and he’s losing minutes to rookies, albeit justifiably. Maybe if he wants to be in the postseason so badly, he should play like it?
I don’t believe that George Hill thought this roster would be playoff competitive, or that he was told the number one priority would be winning games over development.
It seems more likely that Hill saw a $57 million dollar contract sitting there, which is $13 million more than he’s made in his entire career, knew there wasn’t a similar offer on the market, and committed to be a veteran leader on a rebuilding squad.
If that’s the case, and Hill is now regretting his decision, he’s certainly allowed to request a move to a different situation, but pretending that the Kings used the ruse of playoff contention to get him to sign in Sacramento comes across as a desperate attempt to justify a money-grabbing decision he now wishes he hadn’t made.